By: Tejal Patel, MD 6
You go through Xavier wondering how the past students have fared. You see their pictures lining the walls of the school and wonder what their Xavier story was. This past week we got a visit from an alumnus, Dr. Stanley Lee.
Dr. Lee did his Pediatric Residency at SUNY Downstate and is currently conducting his Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship at Baylor University in Texas.
It took Dr. Lee half a second to have our undivided attention. The moment he started speaking I knew this wouldn’t be like any other alumni visit we have ever had. He spoke to us and not down to us. He connected to us as a former student of the school with the same experiences that we are currently encountering.
Dr. Lee started off by telling us about his time at Xavier and the organizations he was apart of. He was on SGA and founded the AEP tutoring group. I’ve been involved with AEP since MD2 as an OSCE tutor and as a student who needed some extra tutoring outside of class. By founding The AEP, he has helped countless students perform better in their classes and also help students to make some money to help with their tuition. He stressed the importance of being a part of clubs on campus, volunteering at health fairs or even just running for a position in SGA.
He then went on to share how he studied for the USMLE Step One. He built his stamina by sitting through 8 blocks of 46 questions. He learned how many questions he could do before he needed a break. He explained his way that when test day comes you already know that after 2 blocks you need a 10 minute break to do well on the future blocks. The practice helps not only build your stamina but it helps you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. This advice was different than what we usually get which is “just do questions.” Dr. Lee gave us a game plan so we can get the most out of doing questions that will shape us for the long run. Preparation for the Step One is a marathon not a sprint. You need to practice smart and study smart to build up your stamina.
Like Dr. Lee, my end goal is to be a pediatrician. I never really understood how the clinics worked past the core rotations. Didn’t know what the best way to pick elective rotations were either. Dr. Lee’s presentation spoke about his clinical experience and allowed us to ask any questions. He worked hard and shared with us how he got an elective rotation for Pediatric Cardiology with John Hopkins. I feel like I have a much better understanding of what to expect out of rotations. In addition he clarified the visa concerns for many of our Canadian students.
As a student when we think about the interview process, we tend to think the interviewer will be focused on our academia more so than anything else. Dr. Lee tied in the importance of being a part of the various clubs Xavier has to offer. He mentioned that the interviewer will ask you about your time at Xavier and what you did. Furthermore, he was ready to talk about his time in Aruba – what the island has to offer and your experiences here. We live on a beautiful island where countless tourists come to spend their vacation time. So make sure you find the time to explore and enjoy Aruba so you have something to talk about during your interviews aside from going to classes.
I really appreciated the fact that Dr. Lee took the time to discuss what happens after Step One. He didn’t say things like “focus on step one and worry about clinicals when you get there”. Instead, he took the time and talked us through the Step One process, through clinicals and took us all the way into becoming matched with a hospital. Being matched is more than just an interview, he explained the impact a letter of recommendation has when you are getting ready to be matched. So when you are doing your rotations it is important to leave a good lasting impression on your attendings. You never know the attending who is writing your letter of recommendation just might be friends with the director of a program you are hoping to get matched into.
The two hours spent with Dr. Lee were two hours well spent. I gained a lot of knowledge about what to expect after leaving Xavier. Our school may be small but it is giving rise to the amazing physicians of tomorrow and Dr. Stanley Lee is proof.